Madeleine is a clever girl, and also a stubborn one. The other day when I was trying to leave to go to the gym, bag in hand, she parked her little butt firmly in the backyard, refusing to come in–even when I called her with a visible piece of food in hand, even when I opened the refrigerator door, a sound that usually gets a really rapid response. I finally had to pick her up and bring her indoors.

As I recently wrote, I am very glad I adopted Madeleine. Allowing happiness into your life is a good thing, as is looking on the bright side, if you can do it without nauseating all the people you know. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid painful emotions. Sometimes it’s cathartic to have a good wallow.

I’ve been filled with dread all week, channeling last year’s countdown to saying good-bye to Frankie, a year ago today. I chose Dia de Los Muertos, Day of the Dead, because I like the Mexican tradition of incorporating death as a natural part of life. And the artwork.

Day of the Dead Skeleton Dog by Lisa Luree
Day of the Dead Skeleton Dog by Lisa Luree

But euthanizing a beloved pet is not a natural part of life, even when you know in your head that you’re doing the right thing.  It haunts you, and it compounds the pain of missing that pet’s company. I finally allowed myself to go with it, to indulge in a running nose, ugly cry-fest, which is a lot better than the free-floating anxiety I’ve been experiencing as November 1 drew close. Madeleine may have sensed my sadness, even before she heard the honking nose blows, and decided it wasn’t a good idea for me to venture out into an amusement-free zone.

I appreciate the sentiment. But today I’m allowing myself to fully grieve my late, great friend Frankie, who will always have a special place in my heart. You never forget your first love, whether four legged or two.

15 thoughts on “Don’t Go: In Praise of the Occasional Wallow”

  1. Doing the right thing it was. It doesn’t make the burden less. I am bawling too, feeling your grief for Frankie on this day of the dead.

  2. It’s been ten years since Blitzen passed, and every once in a while something will trigger a memory and the floodgates still open. I agree with you, having a good cry when you need to is healthy. Frankie was such a funny little personality – it’s hard to believe he’s already been gone a year. Hugs to you.

  3. It’s so different for each person. Know that time heals.

    I’ve had to put down Beardog 1979, Patience 1987, Emily 1988, Buster, 2010, Ellie 2012, KC 2014, – six dogs – and with the last one, I finally got it right, and what that took was having both the right vet and being present. The vet was an emergency room vet, who wasn’t falsely sympathetic, who also whole-heartedly supported the decision (a life-threatening situation), and who carefully and slowly administered the meds while I held his head on my lap. At that moment I saw him in my minds’ eye being handed over to invisible doctors on the other side.

    With no regrets, knowing I did the right thing, I miss KC but also know I honored his life. Besides, the next morning his spirit was able to wrap around my neck and irrepressibly lick my face when I walked into the kitchen, and this time I couldn’t push him off!

  4. Thank you for the reminder that a good, ugly cry is sometimes the only way to deal with that horrible anxiety that can plague us.

    I’m sorry for your pain at losing Frankie. He certainly changed your life.

  5. I just wanted to tell you that I’m happy that I found your blog. I had to euthanize my furry baby, Roxy, 2 months ago & the dog, Sophie, we got to keep Roxy company just passed yesterday. While we were sobbing at the emergency clinic, I saw the Rainbow Bridge on the wall. I thought, “F the Rainbow Bridge”, I want my babies back. Anyway, it was nice to see that you shared the same sentiment. Luckily, we still have the youngster, Layla. Our path to recovery is to always ensure that we have 2 dogs, but we’re holding off a while this time 🙁

    1. I’m so sorry for your losses, Bill. Saying good-bye to two beloved buddies in two months is more than anyone should have to bear. I’m glad you found some comfort in my words. Wishing you and Layla all the best.

  6. I cannot imagine not grieving him and wallowing in the loss of his presence in your life. I think their absence is felt so often in the little things we do every day because they were a part of them at one time. I hope that your soul continues to heal as time moves forward. Godspeed Frankie. You are still missed.

  7. The ugly cry is a good and necessary thing. I am so sorry for your pain, Edie. While they are all such special beings, our first dogs have that distinction of being our guide into their world, working doggedly in an effort to promote better communications and understanding. Quite the little ambassadors! Some 25 years later I still cry when I think of Tsering’s ending, but then I think of all the joyful times and the adventures shared =) I remember he peed on the tire of one of the Iraqi military jeeps whose occupants seemed to think the plane needed to be surrounded by a show of force. I think my dog Tsering was making a political statement, though I didn’t know it at the time…was it Frankie who inspired your book and blog? All the ways they change our lives…kinda breathtaking.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing that great story, Mary! It was absolutely Frankie who inspired my book and my blog, changing my life in ways I never could have anticipated. It is indeed breathtaking.

  8. I’ve never had a dog! Mom was afraid of them til my brother’s professor gave us the dog to take over a vacation. Brother said he was coming in the house with a 4-legged friend & put “Candy” in his bedroom. Curious we both peeked in to see a cocker spaniel – hardly terrifying! What what do you do with a dog. We gave her a bath of course, which she hated. The dog came for Xmas vacation & slept under an old stand up record player. I never did get a dog, Offered to babysit when friends have gone on vacation, but no takers. Friends say they will board or leave with friends who have dogs. So here I sit, alone, but not lonely! Cheers to the dog owners!

    1. Yes, it was quite a life change for me, getting my first dog as an adult. But clearly I’ve adjusted 🙂

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